Gap years in Israel, one of the few countries accepting students from abroad during the pandemic, are also seeing a boost in participation. Masa Israel Journey is the largest immersive, long-term experience for young adults ages 18-30. Its programs range from two months to a year.
Masa Israel has seen a 15 percent increase in registrations for the 2020-21 programming year, with higher demand for gap year and internship programs. The Wall Street Journal noted this increased demand, writing: “Masa Israel, the organization overseeing nonreligious gap-year programming in the country, said it is seeing a 40% increase in gap-year participants compared with last year, of whom two-thirds are American.”
Currently, 22 fellows are registered from Oregon, including four gap year fellows. Other fellows are working in internships or teaching English. Registration for 2020-21 is still open (visit www.masaisrael.org), and fellows will be arriving throughout the year.
In an Oct. 20 press release, Masa reported more than 25 percent of Masa fellows are volunteering in various sectors coping with the pandemic, in adherence with Israel’s Ministry of Health and safety guidelines. Of note, 500 Masa gap year fellows are organizing thousands of coronavirus testing kits for distribution across Israel.
Masa Acting CEO Ofer Gutman says that Masa fellows who came to Israel to gain opportunities for personal and professional growth are standing up to help communities in times of crisis. “These young and bright minds from around the world are coming together to help address some of society’s greatest challenges while also building a more connected community.”